For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Laches (general).

Laches (general)

This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Native name
Λάχης Μελανώπου Αἰξωνευς
Bornc. 475 BC
Died418 BC (aged c. 57)
Years of service418 BC
Battles/warsFirst Battle of Mantinea  

Laches (/ˈlækz/; Ancient Greek: Λάχης Μελανώπου Αἰξωνευς, romanizedLachēs Melanōpou Aixōneus; c. 475 – 418 BCE) was an Athenian aristocrat (son of Melanopos) and general during the Peloponnesian War.


His date of birth is unknown, but Plato asserts that he was distinctly older than Socrates, who was born around 470 BCE. According to Thucydides, he was the son of Melanopus of Aexone.[1][2] The family belonged to the Cecropis tribe.[3]

In 427 BCE, Laches and Charoeades were sent to Sicily with a fleet of 20 ships in order to support Athenian allies against Syracuse.[4] When Charoeades was killed by the Syracusans in battle in 426 BCE, Laches took over the supreme command of the fleet. Under his command, the army sailed to Mylae, a territory of Messana and was defended by two battalions of Messanians.[5] The enemies tried to ambush the Athenians and when this failed, Laches was able to force the cities of Mylae and Messana to surrender.[5] However, due to the annual reappointment of generals, at the beginning of 425 BCE he was replaced by Pythodoros as supreme commander. The first Athenian expedition to Sicily ended badly. Upon Laches' return to Athens he was prosecuted by Cleon, but was acquitted of any wrongdoing. His trial was satirized by Aristophanes in his play The Wasps, which is the main source for its historicity.

In 424 BCE, Laches negotiated a treaty of alliance with Halieis, a Spartan ally on the Argolid Peninsula, which the Athenians had been raiding since 425 BCE. This treaty allowed the Athenians to establish a garrison at Halieis and committed the Halieians to "do well to the Athenians as far as we can at every opportunity".[6] In 423 BCE, Laches successfully moved for a one-year truce with Sparta in the Athenian Assembly.[7] After Cleon died in 422 BCE, Laches, together with Nicias, was able to negotiate the Peace of Nicias. In 418 BCE, the peace broke down because of Athens's support for Spartan rebels. Laches was again appointed general and was killed in the Athenian defeat at the Battle of Mantinea.

The Platonic dialogue Laches features Laches as one of Socrates' main interlocutors.[8]

Others named Laches

Laches was a common name at Athens; the archon of 400/399 BCE, the year of Socrates' execution, was another Laches. Johannes Kirchner's Prosopographia Attica lists eighteen men of the name of Laches, including the general's son, grandson, and great-grandson, who appear in Demosthenes' speech against Timocrates[9] and in his letters. There was also another Laches, son of Demochares, who was Demosthenes' cousin and brother-in-law, but he was of another deme and family. There was also a captain at the battle of Coronea (394 BCE);[10] and an Athenian commander who fought (and lost to) Epaminondas in 364 BCE.

See also


  1. ^ Hogan, John T. (2020). The Tragedy of the Athenian Ideal in Thucydides and Plato. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-4985-9630-5.
  2. ^ Sommerstein, Alan (2002). Indexes, The Comedies of Aristophanes, Volume 12. Oxford University Press. p. 107. ISBN 0-85668-750-2.
  3. ^ Nails, Debra (2002). The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 0-87220-564-9.
  4. ^ Roberts, Jennifer T. (2017-01-10). The Plague of War: Athens, Sparta, and the Struggle for Ancient Greece. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-999666-7.
  5. ^ a b Montagu, John Drogo (2015-01-19). Battles of The Greek and Roman Worlds: A Chronological Compendium of 667 Battles to 31 BC From the Historians of the Ancient World. Frontline Books. ISBN 978-1-4738-9687-1.
  6. ^ Lambert, Stephen. "AIUK 3 no. 1: Treaty between Athens and Halieis". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  7. ^ Thucydides 4.118
  8. ^ Nails, Debra (2002). The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 0-87220-564-9.
  9. ^ Demosthenes 24
  10. ^ Against Simon: Defense 45


{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Laches (general)
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?